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CPD joins Operation Safe Pump to monitor high carjacking areas

South Chicago District officers will be posted outside grocery stores and shopping centers to deter carjackings.

Officer Filiberto Rosas hands out fliers with safety tips to Jewel Osco shoppers at the 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue shopping center.
Officer Filiberto Rosas hands out fliers with safety tips to Jewel Osco shoppers at the 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue shopping center.
Zac Clingenpeel/Sun-Times

The South Chicago Police District is partnering with Operation Safe Pump in an effort to prevent carjackings outside grocery stores and shopping centers.

South Chicago District Cmdr. Robert A. Rubio said officers will monitor parking lots and escort shoppers to their cars in areas with higher rates of carjackings. Rubio made the announcement outside Stony Island Plaza, at 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue, site of a carjacking two days earlier.

The Operation Safe Pump and Safe Shop initiative, announced two weeks ago as Operation Safe Pump, is an effort by Early Walker, owner of W&W Towing, and the Kates Detective and Security Agency to combat a surge in carjackings throughout Chicago. Guards from the Kates agency have been posted at gas stations, mostly on the South Side, during busy times.

“Oftentimes, the individuals who are getting carjacked are the ones who aren’t paying attention,” Walker said. “I wanted to bring a program that would bring extra sets of eyes and ears to individuals who weren’t paying attention.”

CPD officers responded to 218 carjackings in January, according to police. In 2020, carjackings increased 105% compared to 2019.

Aldermen Stephanie Coleman (16th), Michelle Harris (8th) and Gregory Mitchell (7th) attended the announcement. Coleman said since the program began Jan. 22 not a single carjacking has happened at locations where Kates guards were stationed.

“To have CPD join us today, I know that we are going to be a better city.” Coleman said.

South Chicago District Cmdr. Robert Rubio announces his district’s support and cooperation with Operation Safe Pump and Safe Shop.
South Chicago District Cmdr. Robert Rubio announces his district’s support and cooperation with Operation Safe Pump and Safe Shop.
Zac Clingenpeel/Sun-Times

South Shore District officers will be posted outside grocery stores or shopping centers for two-hour periods, Rubio said.

Walker said the locations and exact times haven’t been decided.

A list of gas stations monitored by Kates guards can be found on its website, www.katesdetectiveagency.com. The stations are monitored daily, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Officers stationed at the shopping center Friday handed out fliers with safety tips and escorted shoppers to their cars.